One key question on hand for Tuesday’s Primary, has former State Sen. Ernie Chambers met his political match?


Four years ago, then State Sen. Ernie Chambers, term limited for the second time and unable to run for reelection, was backing Terrell McKinney to represent North Omaha.

McKinney, a Democrat, won.

But now the 86-year-old Chambers, an Independent, wants back in, despite watching McKinney sound, at times, a lot like Chambers.

State Sen. Terrell McKinney, Omaha (D): “The police don’t care about Black people, if they did they wouldn’t do the things they do.”

During his unprecedented 46 years in the Legislature…

Former State Sen. Ernie Chambers, Omaha (I): “I don’t care what anybody says.”

Chambers was well known for stopping so-called bad bills, oftentimes with one-man filibusters.

While the two reportedly have been saying little about the other, McKinney, who has worked to get more than $400 million in federal and state funds to build and rebuild North and South Omaha, says the Legislature needs “more young voices.”

Chambers has said he would not seek a second term, according to the Omaha World-Herald, noting that he would be 91 at that point.

Along with Chambers and McKinney, there is a third candidate in District 11, 56-year-old Calandra Cooper, who appears to be a non-factor in the race.

The top two candidates in the Primary move on to face each other in November. The conventional wisdom is that will be Chambers and McKinney and a chance to see if there is a true changing of the guard in North Omaha.

McKinney: "I’m not going to sit and not fight for my community that has historically been discriminated against."

Chambers:  “I told you all that if the white people would have left me alone, I probably would have died 10 or 12 years ago. But because they kept messing with me I continue to live to spite them.”